With Mega Millions on the line, a mathematician breaks down your chances

- Millions are on the line after this week's lottery drawings came and went with no winner.

The terrible odds of winning don’t stop people from playing, because with a jackpot of $970 million dollars, dreamers say “Why not?”

University of Minnesota Mathematics Professor Andrew Odlyzko says there’s only one way to be sure you'll win.

If someone does hit all those magic numbers they’d make lottery history. It’s the second largest U.S. jackpot ever, but experts say the higher the payout, the more seem to people buy in, but the less of a chance you have to take home the full amount.

“The odds are just about one in 302 million of winning the jackpot,” said Odlyzko.

If you do decide to go for it Odlyzko says there’s only one way to be certain you and you alone take home the pot.

“If you buy 302 million tickets, and you chose them appropriately, and not at random, you’re guaranteed to be a winner. Problem is someone else may be a winner of the jackpot,” Odlyzko said.

You would have to be the only one to hand select just over 302 million tickets.

Odlyzko does say there is a way to increase your odds of winning.

“People, when they chose numbers do not chose randomly, they like certain numbers and don’t like other digits. So, if you’re talking about small number three, and five and seven are typically liked, and six and eight are typically disliked,” he said.

Pick the less liked numbers, he suggests, that way you’re more likely take home a bigger chunk of the pot. That is if you’re numbers are called.

“If I am a winner, I am the only winner because I know you’re not choosing the unpopular numbers,” Odlyzko said.

With the odds as low as they are and the jackpot is as high as it is, some are saying, “Why not?”

“Just taking the stress and everything of this crazy world we live in, just to dream that is worth it. That’s worth two dollars,” said Robert Doty, the executive director of the Minnesota Lottery.  

If you haven’t bought a ticket, there's still time. The drawing is tomorrow.

If you go to the Minnesota Lottery headquarters in Roseville tomorrow between noon and 1 p.m., they're giving away one ticket each to the first 250 people that show up.

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